KIM LAWRENCE

Secret Baby, Convenient Wife


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      Welcome to the new collection of Harlequin Presents!

      Don’t miss contributions from favorite authors Michelle Reid, Kim Lawrence and Susan Napier, as well as the second part of Jane Porter’s THE DESERT KINGS series, Lucy Gordon’s passionate Italian, Chantelle Shaw’s Tuscan tycoon and Jennie Lucas’s sexy Spaniard! And look out for Trish Wylie’s brilliant debut Presents book, Her Bedroom Surrender!

      We’d love to hear what you think about Harlequin Presents. E-mail us at [email protected] or join in the discussions at www.iheartpresents.com and www.sensationalromance.blogspot.com, where you’ll also find more information about books and authors!

      Harlequin Presents®

      ITALIAN

       HUSBANDS

      They’re tall, dark…and ready to marry!

      If you love reading about our sensual Italian men, don’t delay, look out for the next story in this great miniseries!

      Kim Lawrence

      SECRET BABY, CONVENIENT WIFE

      ITALIAN HUSBANDS

      TORONTO • NEW YORK • LONDON

       AMSTERDAM • PARIS • SYDNEY • HAMBURG STOCKHOLM • ATHENS • TOKYO • MILAN • MADRID PRAGUE • WARSAW • BUDAPEST • AUCKLAND

      All about the author…

       Kim Lawrence

      Though lacking much authentic Welsh blood, KIM LAWRENCE—from English/Irish stock—was born and brought up in north Wales. She returned there when she married, and her sons were both born on Anglesey, an island off the coast. Though not isolated, Anglesey is a little off the beaten track, but lively Dublin, which Kim loves, is only a short ferry ride away.

      Today they live on the farm her husband was brought up on. Welsh is the first language of many people in this area and Kim’s husband and sons are all bilingual. She is having a lot of fun, not to mention a few headaches, trying to learn the language!

      With small children, she thought the unsocial hours of nursing weren’t too attractive, so, encouraged by a husband who thinks she can do anything she sets her mind to, Kim tried her hand at writing. Always a keen Harlequin reader, she felt it was natural for her to write a romance novel. Now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

      She is a keen gardener and cook, and enjoys running—often on the beach because, living on an island, the sea is never very far away. She is usually accompanied by her Jack Russell, Sprout—don’t ask, it’s a long story!

      CONTENTS

      CHAPTER ONE

      CHAPTER TWO

      CHAPTER THREE

      CHAPTER FOUR

      CHAPTER FIVE

      CHAPTER SIX

      CHAPTER SEVEN

      CHAPTER EIGHT

      CHAPTER NINE

      CHAPTER TEN

      CHAPTER ELEVEN

      CHAPTER TWELVE

      CHAPTER THIRTEEN

      CHAPTER FOURTEEN

      CHAPTER FIFTEEN

      EPILOGUE

      CHAPTER ONE

      DERVLA’S skirt lifted in the updraft as the helicopter carrying their guests lifted off. Her husband—it had taken her three months before she could use the term even in the privacy of her own thoughts—laughed huskily, his dark eyes glinting with amusement as he watched her frenzied efforts to smooth the fabric back down modestly over her thighs.

      She gave him a half-hearted glare, avoiding prolonged exposure to those mocking eyes because mingled in with the amusement was a glint of insolent sexual challenge that made her hand shake slightly as she lifted it to smooth her tousled red hair into a semblance of order—never an easy objective to achieve where her wayward pre-Raphaelite curls were concerned.

      Gianfranco made no attempt to restore order to his own mussed dark hair, but he looked gorgeous anyway.

      With his glorious vibrant Mediterranean colouring, dark fallen-angel features and six-foot-five lean, muscle-packed frame, Gianfranco Bruni could not not look gorgeous if he tried!

      Gorgeous in a way that triggered a hot hormonal rush and made the muscles low in Dervla’s pelvis tighten when she looked at him; gorgeous in a way that never failed to make her throat tighten with emotion she had no trouble putting a name to—but she didn’t!

      While not mentioning love had not been included in their marriage vows, it might as well have been because Gianfranco had made his own feelings on the subject crystal-clear when he had proposed.

      He had proposed!

      Now how bizarre was that?

      Gianfranco arched a darkly delineated brow and looked down at her, one corner of his wide sensual mouth lifting in a teasing half-smile. ‘What does that enigmatic little smile mean, cara mia?’

      Dervla shivered as he traced the curve of her mouth with the pad of one long brown finger and tilted her face up to his like a flower seeking sunlight. She turned her flushed cheek into the curve of his hand as she looked at him through her lashes, marvelling at the perfect symmetry of his slashing cheekbones, velvety dark eyes and sensually sculpted lips.

      ‘I just have to pinch myself sometimes. It all seems so surreal.’

      His darkly delineated brows drew together above his aquiline nose. ‘And bruise such perfect flawless skin?’ he said, allowing his finger to drop, trailing sensuously down over the pale flesh of her neck until it came to rest in the pulse spot at the base of her throat.

      Dervla swallowed as the slumberous heat in his dark eyes made her wildly sensitive stomach flip and her heartbeat stumble and quicken.

      ‘I can’t think straight when you look at me like that and we still have a guest, Gianfranco,’ she protested, her heart skipping another beat as his wicked smile flashed, deepening the sexy creases around his bold dark eyes.

      ‘Carla?’ Frowning at the reminder, he dismissed his distant cousin with an eloquent shrug of one shoulder. ‘I don’t know why you invited her anyway. It was meant to be a weekend to catch up with Angelo and Kate.’

      The gentle reproach made Dervla’s green eyes widen in incredulity.

      ‘Me invite her?’ Not only had Gianfranco issued the invitation to the gorgeous brunette, but he’d forgotten to even mention it to her!

      So when the older woman had appeared looking her usual immaculately groomed self with an amount of luggage that had seemed to Dervla more appropriate to a two-month luxury cruise than an informal weekend in the country, Dervla had had to think on her feet and pretend she knew all about it.

      And Gianfranco himself had not exactly helped the situation when, on heaving himself dripping from the pool, he had found the older woman watching him through her designer shades.

      His, ‘What are you doing here, Carla?’ had not exactly oozed warmth and welcome!

      Actually he’d said it in Italian, but Dervla’s command of the language had progressed to the point where she could even get the gist of fairly rapid conversations. She despaired of her accent, but Gianfranco had promised her it was extremely sexy.

      Dervla didn’t entirely believe him, but it was always flattering to be told